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October 09, 2023

The 100th Anniversary of Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon

How the Takings Clause Became the Primary Check on Government Power When SCOTUS Abandoned Review Under the Due Process and Contracts Clauses During the New Deal

The Takings Clause and 100 years of the Pennsylvania Coal v. Mahon doctrine have become the primary check on governmental power that the Due Process and Contracts Clause used to serve, before the Supreme Court finally and formally abandoned judicial review under those doctrines during the New Deal.  Mahon transcended its primary relevance as to compensation for the taking of private property to become the fundamental means by which the Rule of Law determines of the individual’s relation with the government.

This session will survey the evolution of takings law and assess its impact on federal, state and local government authority, including not only the limits of that power over private property, but how the law as created by Mahon reconciles the essential issue of an individual’s private rights as they relate to the government’s exercise of authority in the public interest. This ambitious session will predict where these trends are taking us and what constitutional, legislative, and executive initiatives should be considered.


  • Carolynne C. White LEED AP, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP, Denver, CO


  • Carole Necole Brown, Professor, University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, VA
  • Dwight Merriam, Simsbury, CT
  • Robert H. Thomas, Joseph T. Waldo Visiting Chair in Property Rights Law, William & Mary Law School, Williamsburg, VA; Director, Property Rights Litigation, Pacific Legal Foundation, Sacramento, CA
  • Gregor I. McGregor, Partner, McGregor Legere & Stevens PC, Boston, MA